‘India-Nepal cooperation in water resources to strengthen ties’

April 26th, 2008 - 8:48 pm ICT by admin  

Patna, April 26 (IANS) India and Nepal should join hands to improve management of shared water resources for strengthening people-to-people relations, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar said here Saturday. The two countries share immense water resources, which if properly harnessed, could wipe out poverty, boost economic growth and employment and lead to a more egalitarian society, he said in his inaugural speech at a two-day seminar on “Emerging Trends in India-Nepal Relations”.

Bihar, which shares nearly 700 kms of open, porous border with Nepal, is hit almost every year by floods due to river water flows from the neighbouring country.

“India-Nepal cooperation in the water resources offers a multitude of benefits to the people across the border. The annual destruction of life and properties due to floods will be reversed,” he said.

Nitish Kumar said that the two neighbours can join hands to create irrigation facilities, moderate floods, generate hydro-electricity and provide navigation facilities to landlocked Nepal.

“India-Nepal cooperation is of paramount importance for the optimum utilisation of water and overall development of the region,” he said.

Nitish Kumar said that three important projects including the Sapta Kosi high dam, Kamla reservoir project and Bagmati reservoir need mutual cooperation.

“There is some progress at the government level in extension of embankments on some of the rivers flowing from Nepal into India,” he said.

Nitish Kumar said Nepal needs India’s investments in water resources development as well as expertise and hydro-electric market.

India-Nepal agreements on the Kosi and Gandak projects provide the precedence for future endeavours and joint ventures by the two countries, according to the chief minister.

“Our development cooperation engagement with Nepal has emerged as a cornerstone of India -Nepal relations. The importance of this cooperation grows even more now as Nepal enters a historic phase of new nation-building based on inclusive democracy, peace and stability. A strong, stable and peaceful Nepal is in India’s interest,” he said.

Kumar said India was undertaking projects for development of over 1,500 km of road network that would provide easy access to the east-west highway from border regions. Similarly, a proposed project for cross-border rail links at five locations along the border will boost cross-border linkages and promote trade and commerce.

Hisila Yami, a senior Maoist leader and minister for physical planning and works in the outgoing government, is leading a 45-member Nepalese delegation at the seminar.

Minister of State for Commerce and Power Jairam Ramesh, former foreign secretary Shyam Saran and Nepal’s ambassador to India Durgesh Mansingh are among the participants.

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